Capitol Alert

Donald Trump raises millions from Californians, but not as much as these Democrats

Donald Trump announces 2020 re-election campaign

President Donald Trump announced his re-election campaign on June 18, 2019 in Orlando, Florida.
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President Donald Trump announced his re-election campaign on June 18, 2019 in Orlando, Florida.

Thousands of Californians, including hundreds of Central Valley residents, gave to President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign this spring, campaign finance records show.

California remains one of the president’s favorite punching bags. The state has now sued his administration more than 50 times. But many Californians continue to support the president, donating approximately $2 million to his campaign between April and June of 2019. That brings Trump’s total 2020 fundraising from the state to more than $3.5 million.

Campaigns are not required to disclose donor information for contributions of less than $200, so the sum of Californians’ donations to the president’s campaign is likely much higher.

Potential 2020 rival and California Sen. Kamala Harris, in comparison, has raised roughly $7.6 million from her home state donors this year, which represents about a third of her contributions.

Harris and two other fellow Democratic presidential candidates raised more more money from Californians than Trump in the second quarter of this year.

Pete Buttigieg raised the most from the Golden State from April to June, bringing in $3.8 million. Californians over the same three months gave $3.3 million to Harris and $2.4 million to former Vice President Joe Biden.

Despite Trump’s criticism of California’s leaders and its policies, the president has visited the state multiple times. He held a high-dollar fundraiser in Los Angeles in April.

And his son, Donald Trump Jr. just wrapped up a series of fundraisers in both Northern and Southern California this past weekend, reportedly raising several million more for the campaign. The money raised from Trump Jr.’s events in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles and Newport Beach will be reflected in the campaign’s next fundraising report, due in October.

Of the $2 million Trump raised in California in the second quarter of the year, roughly half came from Southern California.

Central Valley donors gave Trump $350,000, including $150,000 from the greater Sacramento region.

Bay Area donors kicked in another $288,000.

Just a few dozen of the Californians wrote big-dollar checks to the president’s campaign in the period between April and June. They include former Rep. Jeff Denham of Turlock, Palmer Luckey, the co-founder of virtual reality company Oculus Rift, and former California Republican Party Chair Shawn Steel, all of whom gave Trump $5,600 — the maximum amount of $2,800 for both the primary and the general election.

Most donors, however, gave in repeated, small increments. That kind of loyal, small-dollar army has helped the Trump campaign outraise a large field of Democratic presidential candidates thus far. In total, the Trump campaign raised nearly $57 million between Jan. 1 and June 30.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has raised the most of any of the Democrats in the race, with just over $46 million in receipts.

Taken together, however, the 24 Democrats in the 2020 primary have raised well over $250 million — nearly five times as much as the Trump campaign.

Emily Cadei works out of the McClatchy Washington bureau, where she covers national politics and policy for McClatchy’s California readers. A native of Sacramento, she has spent more than a decade in D.C. reporting on U.S. elections, Congress and foreign affairs for publications including Newsweek, Congressional Quarterly and Roll Call.